Two and two make five. This non-truth is one of the small phrases at the heart of George Orwell’s “1984.” It is used to demonstrate the ruling party’s focus on the absolute domination of its citizens, often subverting or rejecting truth in order to maintain its power.
Orwell’s phrase is often invoked in political discourse to indicate that the government, or someone else in power, is subverting, rejecting, or attempting to redefine the truth in order to serve their political ends.
As previously noted in the Ginn Economic Brief, the economy is experiencing the deadly combination of stagnation and high inflation—stagflation. Families across America are getting hit by a massive hike in the cost of living, driving them to struggle to make ends meet, dip into savings to pay for basic necessities, or turn to government handouts in the form of safety nets.
Despite clear evidence to the contrary, the Biden administration and its media lapdogs (or perhaps, the other way around—the radical leftist media and its lapdog, the Biden administration) refuse to assume responsibility for the actions that have brought on this rapidly-worsening economy. Instead, they deflect: “inflation is transitory,” “inflation is not as bad as it looks,” “the issue’s we’re facing are a result of supply chain issues from COVID,” and “Make no mistake: The current spike in gas prices is largely the fault of Vladimir Putin.”
However, this refusal to assume responsibility is par for the course for the Biden administration—it’s not so much a subversion of the truth as it is simply a string of false excuses. The statements strike a dishonest, but not Orwellian, chord. They’re not why we invoke Orwell’s “two and two make five.”
That dubious honor, instead, goes to the recent string of press releases, tweets, and news articles arguing, in various ways, that no, the economy is not headed into—or is already in—a recession. Either because the “numbers are not what they seem,” “the definition of recession is far more nuanced than just two quarters of negative growth,” or “the traditional definition of recession is outdated and needs to be updated to reflect modern monetary theory.”
This is the true Orwellian speak—ahead of a second consecutive report of negative inflation-adjusted economic growth, which came out this morning, the generators of that contracting economy are out in force arguing that no, you shouldn’t believe your eyes, your bigger bills, or your dwindling savings account—the economy is actually fine!
The rationale for this attempt to deflect on how a recession is typically defined is fairly straightforward: The Biden administration is already flagging in polls, and an official declaration of recession would be a confirmation of what most Americans are already feeling—a complete and total lack of confidence in the Biden administration’s ability to lead America or implement policies that lead to human flourishing.
This is the truth that must be remembered amidst the deluge of people and organizations trumpeting that idea that recession is either not what we think it is or not as bad as we think it is. The current administration’s radically progressive, half-baked policies are slowly, but surely, destroying our economy and the American dream.